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Seniors, Alcohol Abuse and the Pandemic

"My daughter came to me last week and told me that she was concerned with her grandfather. She said that he seemed confused and was very short with her, unlike the way he usually treated her. Since my mom died, he has seemed distant and disengaged in the family," said Mirian. "He had an alcohol problem shortly after mom passed, but that was years ago and it was a horrible situation."

Alcohol use is increasing in seniors

So bad was this, according to Mirian, that he was admitted to the hospital with acute pancreatitis and began to go through delirium tremens (DTs), severe alcohol withdrawal characterized by shaking, confusion, and hallucinations.

"The pandemic and being isolated has brought back the drinking behavior. Going to the senior center in the past seemed to give him the friends that he needed, but being alone caused the relapse. I can't go through this again but I also don't want him to deal with this on his own. As a family, we feel alone," said Mirian. But Mirian's family is certainly not alone as alcohol use has become a coping mechanism for many seniors facing loneliness and boredom brought on by the isolation of the pandemic.

"The so-called lockdown has had a deleterious effect among our seniors," said certified elder law attorney RJ Connelly III. "They know they are at high risk of illness and they are scared. Because of this, we are seeing an inordin